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Explore the best rated trails in Pismo Beach, CA. Whether you're looking for an easy walking trail or a bike trail like the Bob Jones City to the Sea Trail and Santa Maria Valley Multi-Purpose Trail. With more than 7 trails covering 21 miles you're bound to find a perfect trail for you. Click on any trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
The Bob Jones trail has become dangerous. Electric vehicles now seem to outnumber bikes. Walkers, some elderly, some pushing strollers, some with small children or dogs of all sizes, and regular bicyclists now have to compete for passage with electric vehicles. I have seen: electric bikes, electric scooters, electric skateboards (some with beach chairs mounted on them), a moped, and one speeding electric unicycle whose rider used ski poles for balance. Sometimes the scooters and bikes come in packs of half a dozen, rented by a group, the bikes blaring good-times music. The electric bikes come in various sizes, and at you at various speeds. With my dog on a tight lead, I have been yelled at to get out of the way. With pleasure. Soon someone is going to get hurt seriously and the city will be sued.
Jan 2022: Parked at the Broadway (exit 173) access. Tight entrance gate to get bike through. The levee is very wide with a gravel surface. We only rode from our access point to the West end of the trail where the levee is fenced and signs indicate end of access. Returned to our access point and called it quits. Saw no reason to go further. Nothing special about this trail, flat and wide.
Jan 2022: We parked at the Hagerman Sports Complex and rode both directions from there. Trail surface is paved smooth and wide enough. Heading south trail signage indicates end of trail but trail picks up again after crossing Skyway Dr. Okay ride to end. There is a stop with three information panels about military and aviation history of the area.
Such a beautiful walk. Add a walk along the pier and lunch in Avila and you have a fantastic day.
Location: San Luis Obispo (North Segment) and Avila Beach (South Segment), CA
Parking: Pardo Road area (SLO segment) and parking area off of Ontario Road for Avila Beach segment. The Ontario Road parking lot is large and well used…a lot of cars parked on Friday afternoon.
Trail Condition: Surface is good throughout the trail. SLO segment had a couple areas of repair work and crack sealing. SLO is wide enough for riding two abreast. The Avila Beach segment trail width varies with two abreast wide and two lane road wide. Trail surface is smooth.
Signage: Usual regulatory signage on both sections. Along the SLO segment there were a number of signs explaining the sewage plant process and variety of equipment used. The Avila Beach segment had interpretative signage explaining geology, plants, and history. The Avila Beach segment had sufficient directional signs.
SLO segment – Don’t be surprised…starting from Prado Road within a very short distance will encounter an encampment right on the edge of the trail. The encampment is up close and in the face. Once passed that the trail follows along the sewer plant fence line (a number of signs on the fence explain the process and equipment used) on one side and the creek on the other. Plenty of trees and greenery away from traffic. Further on the trail twists through grassy area, trees, marsh land and ends at Los Osos Valley Road. We completed this segment and no need to return.
Avila Beach Segment – Many trail users, mostly walkers with a few bikes. Trail is away from traffic, through the trees, along the creek, past some quiet housing developments, and crosses a golf course before arriving about a block from the beach. A lengthy section of the trail is a two-lane road leading to a gated residential area, no cars were encountered on this part of the trail. This was a nice trail and worthy of a visit if in the area.
Location: Morro Bay, CA
Parking: Azure St. Ocean Access parking area north end of Cloister Walk trail.
Trail Condition: This is a “double” trail. Ocean side is walking path and then a separate asphalt surface for bikes. Both are plenty wide enough for lots of traffic and in great condition.
Signage: Informational signs but no directional signs, which aren’t needed.
Comments: Began from town out towards the rock. Short but nice. Stopped to watch sea otters near the shore line. Coming back from the rock took left hand turn on to bike path along Embarcadero to loop back to the Cloister Walk, our starting point. This trail and Cloister Walk trail gave us a short 6 mile ride. Great scenery and fun seeing sea otters.
Parking: Azure St. Ocean Access parking area north end of trail.
Trail Condition: Good asphalt surface, not real wide but wide enough for passing oncoming traffic. Signage: As noted in trail description there is not any directional signage. At first we followed the spur that took us out to the beach, followed another spur into a housing development, and then figured out where the trail would take us into town (through the nice little park).
Comments: Began trail from the north, first sign along trail asks for an unrealistic speed limit of 5 mph for bikes. We got the point, not to race through the trail, which isn’t really our style. This park of the trail winds along the dunes restoration area and some beach homes. Is scenic and quiet. The main portion from the park towards town parallels highway 1 but below highway grade. Lots of trees. South end of trail stops at a major street into Morro Bay. We made a right into the bike lane along the street and followed down to the harbor. Then north again to connect to Morro Bay Harborwalk. Then followed Embarcadero to loop back to the Cloister Walk. Short ride 6 miles overall but did enjoy the scenery.
The Bob Jones City to the Sea Trail is a nice, pretty, easy ride but sadly too short! Be prepared to do a bit of on street biking if you want to go all the way to Avila Beach and the pier.
For beautiful panoramas and photo ops, the Morro Bay Harborwalk is tough to beat. The path is usually full of tourists, but that's OK. It makes you slow down to enjoy the majesty of Morro Rock, the shimmering waters of the bay, and the antics of frolicking sea otters.
To make this into a lengthier and more substantial bike ride, we parked and unloaded our bikes up the coast a bit at the Morro Bay Sunset parking lot on Azure Street. We then enjoyed a leisurely ride down a Class I bike path for maybe a couple of miles. You'll pass through a park and go by Morro Bay High School.
Eventually you'll come to quiet Atascadero Road where you'll turn right. The road will dogleg into Embarcadero which leads straight to the Harborwalk. Yes, you have to ride on the road for a mile or two, but the roads had little to no traffic.
All in all, a fun time was had by all on these mini bike paths, perfect for a couple of sixty year olds.
BTW: If you're looking for something a bit more substantial near Morro Bay that's not on R-T-T, then go down the coast to Montana de Oro State Park and hike or ride your bike along the bluffs on a wide, hard packed dirt path overlooking the ocean. Talk about spectacular photo ops!
I just rode the entire trail and found that the western end of the trail is gated off at N. Blosser Rd. A sign on the gate shows "No trespassing" on the levee. Trail is mostly hard packed gravel.
There's good parking at the East end of the trail. Exit 101 and go toward Avila. Turn right at the first road (about 1/4 mile) and go over the bridge. The beginning of the trail is on the left and the parking is on the right. There is now a camera on a pole and the parking lot is patrolled due to thefts last year.
The trail itself is fairly well maintained except for an area where roots have affected the asphalt.
The trail gets very crowded on the weekends and holidays between 9 am and 3 pm. There are dog walkers, joggers, kids and families riding bikes, and people walking. It's a good idea to have a bell.
At the end of the trail, you can continue out to the port, an extra 1.1 miles or just ride up to the town of Avila. There's a nice coffee shop across from the beach at the South end of the shops that also sells boxes of water. :-)
Parking and starting in Avila is more difficult as beachgoers will take up the parking, especially between 9 am and 2 or 3 pm. It is possible to park on Winter weekdays.
The County is extending the trail to connect it with downtown.
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